American Imaging Management: Brandon Cady, President

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

The industry leader in diagnostic imaging management was founded in Chicago in 1989. American Imaging Management (AIM) has been a company of tremendous growth and forward momentum since that time. “Very simply, I describe AIM as a clinical decision support solution, operating in the outpatient healthcare service arena,” says Brandon Cady, President of the company since 2008.

AIM partners with health insurance plans to promote the most appropriate, high quality, and effective diagnostic outpatient imaging available. In the last 5-7 years, the company has grown from 2 million, to more than 30 million lives covered; from 90 associates, to more than 700 associates; and from two large health plan clients, to more than 30 health plans across the country. The group has customers in 32 states, and interacts with more than 50,000 provider offices.

The Solution for Diagnostic Imaging Management

High tech diagnostic imaging services have experienced extreme growth in recent years and are one of the fastest growing costs in healthcare in the United States today. While rapid growth and the improved imaging technology can be good for healthcare, it is estimated that as much as a one-third of all outpatient imaging currently being performed is clinically unnecessary, redundant, or driven by self referral by providers who have purchased their own equipment.

AIM helps to reduce excess imaging costs and utilization through a system built to manage imaging services based on clinically proven guidelines. Order entries are compared against accepted clinical guidelines, for instance, and providers have access to real-time authorizations through the web portal 24/7/365 where they can also access claims and eligibility information. “We’re very focused on web capabilities and web tools for provider offices and patient facilities … so we’ve been very successful in growing our web use from about 10% in 2002 to over 50% use of our web self-service tools today,” says Cady.

“We’re a very customer focused company and our number one objective each year has been customer satisfaction and customer retention. We’ve been very successful in that area,” says Cady. “Not only are we earning new clients, we have a 93% customer retention rate since 2001.”

Capitalizing on Innovation and Technology

The existence of AIM is dependent upon evolving technology,  and the company views itself as a leader in utilization and management of diagnostic imaging. “We customize our programs and our business solutions for health plans,” says Cady. “One of the sayings we have around here is ‘If you’ve seen one health plan, you’ve only seen one health plan.’ Healthcare is still very much a local business.”

The AIM team prioritizes measurement and the ability to provide each client, or potential client, with a comprehensive view of radiology costs by category. Not only does AIM help clients understand their own imaging utilization and cost big picture, they have the ability to compare performance to industry benchmarks to show a health plan just where it stands historically and through projected trends.

“We stay focused on evolving our products and our services,” says Cady. “We really want to meet and stay ahead of what is happening in the healthcare industry, in general, and certainly within the different evolving markets.”

In the last two years, AIM has expanded its product and solution offerings outside of the realm of radiology. They now have a cardiac services management program and a service to manage specialty pharmacy orders. “We’re still very focused on making sure that those services that are being used are appropriate and have a high degree of clinical quality,” says Cady.

Keeping Priority Number One in Focus

In such a driven, growing, and innovative company, it might come as a surprise to hear that priority number one has always been the people. “We always try to recruit and maintain the most talented employees that we can,” says Cady. “Our investments each year are very focused on our people.” Cady says the Chicago area provides them with an excellent pool of talent from which to recruit their employees.

“Culturally, AIM strives for balance,” says Cady. “In terms of recruiting well rounded employees, you have to think in terms of work, life, and family values. Because we’ve been growing so fast, the environment here is very demanding in terms of work and any time you are focused on customer satisfaction, as we’ve been, it’s very important to maintain that place of balance with our associates.”

Further Expansion

About a year ago, the group expanded outside of the Chicago area by opening an office in Glendale, California. “I’m happy to report that we’ve maintained a really remarkable track record in terms of service and customer attention throughout this period of growth, and I think the challenges we face in the next few years are challenges that many healthcare companies will face with the increased pressures caused by the economy.”

But managing costs to provide superior services is what AIM has been about from the beginning.

“We feel good about the value that we provide to our customers both in terms of medical cost management and also administrative efficiencies,” says Cady. “We feel fully prepared to meet, and even exceed expectations as the healthcare industry becomes even more complex in the coming years.”

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